Each year on June 1st, National Heimlich Maneuver Day recognizes a life-saving technique. The Heimlich Maneuver uses abdominal thrusts to force air from the lungs. The forced air expels an object on which someone is choking. Dr. Henry J. Heimlich created this life-saving procedure in 1974. “The Heimlich Maneuver” is also referred to as “Abdominal Thrusts.” The observance also kicks off National Safety Month, and the Heimlich Maneuver is just one of the many steps you can take this month.
How do I know if the person is really choking?
An adult or child (over a year old), will typically show the universal sign of choking which is placing their hands around the neck. Choking victims will be unable to cough, speak or breath or may have a silent cough and will need immediate attention. If the person is coughing, stand by and encourage the cough. If you're concerned about the person's breathing, phone 9-1-1.
Actions to Take for an Adult and Child (over a year old)
If you think someone is choking ask "Are you choking? Can I help?
If the person nods yes, say "I'm going to help you."
Stand behind the person or kneel for a smaller child.
Wrap your arms around the person's waist so your fists are in front of the person.
Make a fist with one hand.
Put the thumb side of the fist above the person's belly button.
Grab the fist with the other hand.
Give quick upward thrusts into the abdomen.
Continue to give abdominal thrusts until the person coughs out the obstruction or until they become unresponsive.
Actions to Take for a Pregnant Woman or Large Adult or Child
If you can't wrap your arms around the person's waist, give thrusts on the chest instead of the abdomen.
Put your arms under the person's armpits and your hands on the lower half of the breastbone.
Pull straight back to give chest thrusts.
Actions to Take for an Infant
Hold the infant face down on your forearm. Make sure that you are supporting the infants head and jaw with your hand.
With the heel of your hand, give 5 back slaps between the infant's shoulder blades.
If the obstruction does not come out after 5 back blows, turn the infant over while supporting the head.
Give 5 chest thrusts, using 2 fingers on the chest in the same place that you would perform chest compressions.
Repeat 5 back slaps and 5 chest thrusts until the infant can breathe, cough or cry or until they become unresponsive.
What if the Choking Maneuvers Don't Work?
If the abdominal thrusts or back blows with chest thrusts don't work to relieve the obstruction, the person will go unresponsive. At this point, call or have someone call 9-1-1 Once unresponsiv
e, perform CPR with one slight modification. After 30 chest compressions, you will open the airway and look for the obstruction before giving breaths. If you see the obstruction, gently remove it. DO NOT PERFORM A BLIND FINGER SWEEP!
If you are interested in taking a class to learn these skills, contact us today!